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Osteopaths diagnose, treat and provide preventative advice on the musculo-skeletal system of the body, using manual techniques to alleviate stresses to improve the body's function.

Osteopaths diagnose a patient’s complaints using information from their case history, a physical examination, manual palpation, observation of the patients' body structure and mobility, and by using clinical aids (e.g. X-rays, CT scans, laboratory tests). They treat patients using a variety of manual techniques (e.g. soft tissue stretching, muscle relaxation, gentle mobilization).

Osteopaths treat biomechanical complaints, such as backaches, general joint problems, sports injuries, headache, arthritis, asthma, stress and repetitive strain injuries, some breathing problems and a wide range of general medical complaints. They also treat children for the after-effects of birth trauma and childhood accidents and devise exercise and nutritional programmes.

Osteopaths work in conjunction with medical practitioners, dentists, podiatrists, dietitians and naturopaths, and may work from clinics or from their homes. They have a high level of contact with the public.

Satisfying Aspects
- successful relief of pain and helping people realize a healthy lifestyle
- working with people
- opportunity to set up own practice

Demanding aspects
- sometimes having to work after hours to suit patients
- frustration because of a patient's lack of progress
- working with uncooperative or critical patients, or relatives who are likewise disposed
- having to cooperate with other members of the medical team who may be uncooperative or critical

- an interest in people and their health
- patient and tactful
- able to get along well with others
- mature and emotionally stable
- able to express self well
- an assured, calm manner
- manual dexterity and good health
- physical stamina and body coordination

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences

As subjects can vary from one institution to another, you should contact your chosen institution for full details.

Degree: BSc Osteopathy (currently none available in South Africa)

British School of Osteopathy

- rehabilitation centres for the physically handicapped
- special schools e.g. schools for the cerebral palsied
- sport and recreation clubs
- private hospitals
- self-employment, with enough experience,    initiative and capital, can start own private practice or in partnership with another osteopath or physiotherapist

Osteopathic Association of South Africa
Tel: (011) 869-1930

Chiropractic Association of SA      
P O Box 706
Bethlehem, 9700
Tel: (058) 303-4571 Fax: 086 519 8656

Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)
P O Box 205
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 338-9300 Fax: (012) 328-5120